Sunday, June 08, 2008

I feel quite a fair bit better today after having gotten a proper night's sleep for the first time in a couple of weeks. And it's a great day today. The sun's blazing outside and I think I'm going to check out the Sunday Upmarket while - finally - wearing one of my dresses.

The CFA Level III examination is brutal. Anyone who tells you is the easiest is, quite simply, lying through their teeth. It's either that, or they're suffering from some kind of memory loss and brain damage. It really is like a marathon. Getting to the exam venue should be viewed as an accomplishment in itself as it means that you feel up to attempting to do the exam in spite of the vast amount of material you had to cover over the last few weeks while still managing working full-time.

But once you're there, the race's not over yet. You're exhausted and strung out and you realise there's another 21 km to run. Can you handle it? You'll have to wait till August to see whether it was enough.

And if you ever have a choice as to which exam venue to do it in, do not choose ExCel in London. It was poorly organised especially in relation to Singapore. And the proctors didn't quite realise what they were supposed to be doing.

For instance, before the morning paper began, the proctor came up to me and asked me to put my wallet in my pocket. Now, it's a ladies wallet, so it's big, and I don't usually have pockets in the first place. I asked if I could put it under my chair instead, and he refused, asking me to stuff it in my hoodie's side-pocket. I then called another proctor over and asked if I could put it under my chair. This one agreed.

Then, during the paper, another proctor walked past my desk and on three separate occasions, asked me to put various items on my desk (keys, earplugs and hairclips) in my pocket as only certain items are meant to be on the desk itself. I was getting rather irritated because:

  1. The morning paper is the one you don't quite have time on (I got to the end with 30 mins to spare, but only because I realised early on that if I continued answering questions at my slow rate, I wouldn't have time to get to the end and didn't have time to get back to all of those which I skipped)
  2. Those items had been sitting on my desk the entire time before the exam began, and the proctors had been walking past my desk the entire time, so why the hell couldn't they have told me then?
  3. And even if they hadn't seen it then, couldn't they have told me to do them all at once, rather than interrupting me three times during the exam?
In addition, they began 15 minutes late due to equipment failure (which almost caused a a semi-riot in my section as half the room appeared to be going ahead of us, though that turned out not to be the case) and the fact that the chairs were incredibly uncomfortable (if I sat all the way back into the chair, my legs couldn't quite touch the ground) and you can see that an already stressed out person might just lose it in such a unsympathetic environment.

And, of course, there's cramming yourself tight into the DLR in an attempt to get back home. It's the only mode of transport out of the area, unless you're willing to pay £20 for a minicab back out to Central London.

So, in summary, the ExCel and the crappy CFA proctors in London do not make for the most pleasant exam experience.

I hope, I pray and I wish that I will never have to go through any part of this again.

To the friends who went through the same hellish experience, albeit in different cities, I hope, pray and wish the same for you too.

P.S. I could not find an appropriate place to mention this in the passage I wrote, but P. sent me this a few weeks ago: prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino for success in examinations.

It's a - dare I say it? - a cute prayer and helped to alleviate the stress of studying (especially the part about being asked "only the questions you knew").

Let's just hope that divine intervention is sufficient to get me the result I so desperately want.

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